Founder and CEO of SciFutures
Ari Popper is the Founder and CEO of SciFutures, a foresight and innovation house that uses sci-fi prototyping to help their clients create meaningful change in the Exponential Age. SciFutures works in a wide variety of industries with Fortune 500 clients such Visa, Hershey, Ford, Clorox, NATO and VMWare. Ari has over 20 years experience as a marketing, consumer research and innovation executive. He is a passionate sci-fi fan and amateur sci-fi writer who was inspired to start SciFutures during a creative sci-fi writing class at UCLA. He says that: “Science Fiction is powerful tool because it helps organizations understand the human potential of emerging technologies in order to develop human centered strategies that the whole organization can understand and be inspired to rally behind. This provides a significant competitive advantage.
Professor in Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology Dept. at UCSB
Doug McCauley has been an assistant professor in UCSB’s department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology since 2014. McCauley completed his undergraduate education at U.C. Berkeley with a double major in Integrative Biology and Political Science. He earned his Ph.D in Biology at Stanford University, and went on to do postdoctoral research at both Stanford and Berkeley. McCauley’s research focuses on understanding how biological communities and ecosystems assemble and function in a rapidly changing world, and explores the effects of human-induced loss of large animals in linked ecosystems. His recent article “Marine Defaunation: animal loss in the global oceans” received international attention and is among the highest-scoring articles ever in the journal Science.
Professor in English Dept. at UCSB
Dr. Ken Hiltner received his PhD from Harvard University, where he garnered a number of distinctions as a researcher and Teaching Fellow, including the Bowdoin Prize. He has written a number of books and articles, mostly on Renaissance literature, ecocriticism, and the intersection of the two. He has served as Director of the Literature and the Environment Center, Director of the Early Modern Center, and Chair of the Graduate Program. Prior to becoming an English professor, he made his living as a furniture-maker. As a second-generation woodworker, he received commissions from five continents and had collections featured in major metropolitan galleries.
Lecturer in Technology Management Program at UCSB
Ken is a keynote speaker and he teaches Marketing and Strategy at UCSB’s TMP program. He also serves as Executive Vice President of BigSpeak, the leading business speakers’ bureau, serving over 70% of the Fortune 1000. Ken is a Partner at Valiant Group, managing a real estate portfolio in excess of $350 million. Ken has a PhD in Organizational Leadership and an MBA from Babson College. His background includes co-founding and advising several startups, including one of the original cloud computing companies. Ken worked with KPMG for several years and has participated in several consulting or research projects in the areas of marketing, technology, and leadership. Ken is passionately involved in hyper-growth for business, keynote speaking, mentoring and enriching student experiences with experiential learning.
Professor in Sociology Dept. at UCSB
Kum-Kum Bhavnani is a university professor by day and a filmmaker by night, who merges her scholarship with efforts for social justice through the combined lenses of critical research and the movie camera. She was born in India, grew up in London (went to Bristol, Nottingham and Cambridge universities) and arrived as a professor at UC Santa Barbara in 1991. Her PhD focused on how working class youth talk about politics. Since then she teaches and researches issues of gender around the world. Between 2006 and 2014, Kum-Kum produced three documentaries: The Shape of Water, Nothing Like Chocolate and Lutah. These films have been screened around the world, including in Istanbul, London, Toronto, Washington DC, and Abu Dhabi. Through these films she hopes to inspire future generations to enjoy their lives, while living ethically and creating social justice for all.
Education PhD Student at UCSB
Lilly Tam is a PhD student, she completed her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Organizations at UC Santa Barbara. After earning her undergraduate degree at Loyola Marymount University, Lilly spent several years with inner-city students in Los Angeles, then continued on to teach in Santa Barbara. Lilly has been studying learners and their success as an adult within the family structure and work dynamic for over a decade. Lilly’s research focuses on understanding how subconscious programming benefits society at the educational, personal and professional level. She is currently exploring working with the subconscious to support positive changes, improve communication and build better habits.
Original Storyteller at Pixar
Matthew Luhn is an accomplished story teller, story consultant, writer, and keynote speaker. Matthew has over 25 years of experience creating stories and characters for Pixar, including Toy Story (1995), Monsters Inc. (2001), and Cars (2006). In addition to his story writing, he holds “story seminars,” in which he trains CEO’s, marketing teams, and other professionals on how to create stories for Fortune 500 companies and corporate brands. His clients include Target, Adidas, Google, Disney, Facebook, and many more. Matthew is also passionate about teaching and empowering children around the world on how to write, draw, and create stories.
Professor Emeritus in Sociology & Global Studies Dept. at UCSB
Rich Appelbaum is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Global Studies at UCSB, and co-founder of the University’s Global and International Studies Program. He received his B.A. from Columbia University, M.P.A. from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Throughout his distinguished career in academia, Appelbaum has published numerous books and articles on topics spanning homelessness and urban development, labor policy, and the economic impact of globalization. In addition to serving as the co-principal investigator at the NSF-funded Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Appelbaum oversees two major research projects investigating labor conditions and the development of high-tech industries in the Asian-Pacific Rim.
Professor in Linguistics Dept. at UCSB
Robert Kennedy is a linguistics professor at UCSB, whose primary interests involve reduplication across languages, as well as the study of phonetic and phonological properties of vowels in English dialects. His recent work includes research on aspects of California English, and the relationship between the geological factors and phonological properties. He has over 10 publications since earning his Ph.D. in 2003, which most recently include “Chain shifting and centralization in California vowels: An acoustic analysis. American Speech.” and “Nicknames. In John R. Taylor (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Word.”